Murder suspect airs grievances in court hearing
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
It was defendant versus public defenders Tuesday when Trevor Torreyson, accused of first-degree murder, complained his attorneys didn’t seem to have enough time to properly represent him.
Torreyson, 42, is charged with murder for the June 2018 death of Keith Wayne. Torreyson, who has been held in Garfield County jail since his arrest, was in court to enter a plea to the charges and potentially move the case to trial.
After public defender Scott Troxell spoke about postponing the plea hearing for a specific issue on evidence, Torreyson spoke directly to the judge, against his attorney’s advice.
“I would like to speak for myself today,” Torreyson told 9th District Judge Berkley Boyd.
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It is rare for defendants who have counsel to speak in court proceedings, and Troxell repeatedly asked to speak with Torreyson alone.
Torreyson said he had not seen specific parts of the discovery, and that the 4,000 pages he had seen were part of a 19,000-page document.
Judge Boyd asked if Torreyson was claiming that he had been poorly represented.
“I understand you’re telling me you’re not happy with your attorneys at least in communicating these issues,” Boyd said.
“At this point I am not ready to suggest that there is an ineffectiveness of counsel,” Torreyson replied.
The issue, Torreyson said, was more about not receiving pieces of evidence he expected, and when he asked for them, he received “a very vague response” from his attorneys.
Boyd reminded Torreyson that the prosecutors were present in the courtroom, and anything he said in court could be used against him in trial.
“You are represented by counsel, and you’re raising a problem here that I can’t really solve for you,” Boyd said.
The attorneys scheduled a timeline to work through a specific issue related to evidence.
Troxell said he wanted to see if he would be allowed to present evidence at trial, or submit an expert witness, that pertained to why Torreyson might not remember the death of Wayne.
Under Colorado law, defense may only present evidence of a defendant’s mental state if they have gone through a court-ordered examination.
But that statute doesn’t necessarily apply to memory, Troxell said. While it was the defense position that Torreyson didn’t remember Wayne’s death because he wasn’t involved in it, Troxell wanted to know if it were possible to present an expert witness on the memory issue without a mental examination.
“I bring it up now simply because we don’t want to be in a position that if we bring it up at trial we are for some reason excluded,” Troxell said.
This apparently bothered Torreyson. Troxell “wants to throw me under the bus, and it’s a little premature,” Torreyson told the judge.
Still, Torreyson did not ask for a hearing to dismiss his defense team.
“I think they are competent if they are available to do it wholeheartedly,” Torreyson said. The public defenders were overworked, he said, and were not able to give his case enough attention.
Boyd encouraged Torreyson to try to work with the public defender’s office, and asked him not to disclose details of the case in such a manner.
While defendants have the right to enter the plea they wish and to testify in their defense at trial, in terms of legal strategy and presentation of evidence, attorneys do have some authority, Boyd said.
Unless Torreyson was seeking new counsel or seeking to represent himself, Boyd said there wasn’t much he could do to resolve the concerns.
“You’ve aired your grievance in part,” Boyd told Torreyson. “Your attorneys have heard it, I have heard it. There’s nothing more to do today.”
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